Capitalism in your heart

… And deep down, capitalism seeps deep into the texture of our everyday life. We begrudge our families hours and minutes. We charge spouses and children in resentment and guilt. Weekends and holidays are not enough to make up for leisure with our families. A price is paid for every day, every hour of abandon. Even when we are ‘free,’ we are not free of these habits of disconnection. We are not whole. We are not connected. When we connect with others, we are on unpaid leave. 

It is women more than anyone else who pay the price for breaking the rules of capitalism, for prioritizing connection. It is appropriate for women to pay this price, is it not? Since they are naturally oriented to connect. Let them, then, continue to pay the price – these ‘defective’ soldiers of capitalism.

Capitalism isn’t theoretical. It’s intimate & violent. It doesn’t peek in on you sometimes. It’s constant. It’s habit of thought, a stranglehold on hearts, a constriction from which to escape we call for self-care & vacations – temporary fixes & an integral part of the system.


Small inequalities: gender and the family

Image result for family labor inequality women
Via Greater Good.

The vast world of inequalities women deal with on a day to day basis is completely untouched by public debate, law, or policy.

The inherent gender inequality built into our social and emotional lives, into how we structure our days, into our expectations for what female individuals must do, the value of one person’s time compared to another’s — these are the intimate family spaces untouched by policy.

These are the times and spaces where women are alone and without recourse.

These are the pockets of life where we are obligated to shut off our personal awareness of inequality, simply to live in peace and harmony with expectations of love and acceptance. Because once we articulate this awareness, social harmony in everyday life becomes conditional; love is stinted.

In order to be loved, we must give and give without question.


Dear khateebs:

  1. Say “sisters” as well as “brothers.” I promise no one will get aroused.
  2. Review your khutbah before delivery: If it is all 30 minutes of negative feedback, at least insert some positive notes. Take out at least some of the contempt and the shaming. People naturally try to avoid retaining negative feedback. If you want people to actually change their behavior, try positive notes. Today I heard someone spend 30 minutes assuming the worst of all his listeners in relation to how we use time.
  3. If your textual references are all so elevated as to be unrelatable for ordinary people, try inserting some accessible notes. Try mentioning stuff that can be put into practice. Contextual religiosity is something people can take with them. Otherwise it’s just pious shame that results in nothing. For instance, today a man exhorted attendees to drive 100mph in order to be in the front row at the masjid, promising that they wouldn’t get a speeding ticket. Also, try varying references to the Companions if they are all of this kind:
  • Khalid ibn Waleed saying bismillah illadhi … and drinking poison, and remaining healthy;
  • a sahabi hearing the Prophet say sit and then refuse to stand up because he never heard the Prophet say stand afterward;
  • Ibraheem (AS) leaving his family in the desert.

We have kids in the musalla; we’ve got people wondering whether they should be drinking poison. Maybe try piloting your khutba before delivering it.

4. Here in the U.S., please translate Arabic words. I kept having to tell my kid what you were saying.

5. Don’t shame people across the board for not being eager to attend lengthy Friday prayers. Not everyone has the leisure and freedom to attend lengthy prayer services. Some people have responsibilities. And by the way, some attendees may be physically unable to attend long prayers; some may not be able to retain their wudu. So exhort people, yes, to enjoy the benefits of leisurely prayer when they are able, but don’t assume that they are just bad and lazy if they don’t.